Hereditary deafness affects approximately 1 in 2,000 children. Mutations in the gene encoding the cochlear gap junction protein connexin 26 (CX26) cause prelingual, nonsyndromic deafness and are responsible for as many as 50% of hereditary deafness cases in certain populations. Connexin-associated deafness is thought to be the result of defective development of auditory sensory epithelium due to connexion dysfunction. Surprisingly, CX26 deficiency is not compensated for by the closely related connexin CX30, which is abundantly expressed in the same cochlear cells. Here, using two mouse models of CX26-associated deafness, we demonstrate that disruption of the CX26-dependent gap junction plaque (GJP) is the earliest observable change during embryonic development of mice with connexin-associated deafness. Loss of CX26 resulted in a drastic reduction in the GJP area and protein level and was associated with excessive endocytosis with increased expression of caveolin 1 and caveolin 2. Furthermore, expression of deafness-associated
Kazusaku Kamiya, Sabrina W. Yum, Nagomi Kurebayashi, Miho Muraki, Kana Ogawa, Keiko Karasawa, Asuka Miwa, Xueshui Guo, Satoru Gotoh, Yoshinobu Sugitani, Hitomi Yamanaka, Shioko Ito-Kawashima, Takashi Iizuka, Takashi Sakurai, Tetsuo Noda, Osamu Minowa, Katsuhisa Ikeda
Drastic disruption of cochlear GJPs in two models of CX26-associated deafness.